Lesbian feminism

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Lesbian feminism is a cultural movement and critical perspective, most influential in the 1970s and early 1980s (primarily in North America and Western Europe), that encourages women to focus their efforts, attentions, relationships, and activities towards their fellow women rather than men and often advocates lesbianism as the logical result of feminism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_0

Some key thinkers and activists are Charlotte Bunch, Rita Mae Brown, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Marilyn Frye, Mary Daly, Sheila Jeffreys, Barbara Smith, Pat Parker, Margaret Sloan-Hunter, Cheryl Clarke, Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Monique Wittig, and Sara Ahmed (although the last two are more commonly associated with the emergence of queer theory). Lesbian feminism_sentence_1

Lesbian feminism arose in the early 1970s out of dissatisfaction with second-wave feminism and the gay liberation movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_2

As stated by lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys, "Lesbian feminism emerged as a result of two developments: lesbians within the [ Women's liberation movement ] began to create a new, distinctively feminist lesbian politics, and lesbians in the [ Gay Liberation Front ] left to join up with their sisters". Lesbian feminism_sentence_3

According to Judy Rebick, a leading Canadian journalist and feminist activist, lesbians were and always have been at the heart of the women's movement, while their issues were invisible in the same movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_4

Lesbian feminism of color emerged as a response to lesbian feminism thought that failed to incorporate the issues of class and race as sources of oppression along with heterosexuality. Lesbian feminism_sentence_5

Key ideas Lesbian feminism_section_0

Lesbian feminism, much like feminism, lesbian and gay studies, and queer theory, is characterized by the ideas of contestation and revision. Lesbian feminism_sentence_6

At the same time, one of the key themes of lesbian feminism is the analysis of heterosexuality as an institution. Lesbian feminism_sentence_7

Lesbian feminist texts work to denaturalise heterosexuality and, based on this denaturalization, to explore heterosexuality's "roots" in institutions such as patriarchy, capitalism, and colonialism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_8

Additionally, lesbian feminism advocates lesbianism as a rational result of alienation and dissatisfaction with these institutions. Lesbian feminism_sentence_9

Sheila Jeffreys defines lesbian feminism as having seven key themes: Lesbian feminism_sentence_10

Lesbian feminism_unordered_list_0

  • An emphasis on women's love for one anotherLesbian feminism_item_0_0
  • Separatist organizationsLesbian feminism_item_0_1
  • Community and ideasLesbian feminism_item_0_2
  • Idea that lesbianism is about choice and resistanceLesbian feminism_item_0_3
  • Idea that the personal is politicalLesbian feminism_item_0_4
  • A rejection of social hierarchyLesbian feminism_item_0_5
  • A critique of male supremacy (which, according to Jeffreys, eroticises inequality)Lesbian feminism_item_0_6

Lesbian feminist literary critic Bonnie Zimmerman frequently analyzes the language used by writers from within the movement, often drawing from autobiographical narratives and the use of personal testimony. Lesbian feminism_sentence_11

According to Zimmerman, lesbian feminist texts tend to be expressly non-linear, poetic and even obscure. Lesbian feminism_sentence_12

Lesbian feminists of color argue for intersectionality, in particular the crossings of gender, sex, class, and race, as an important component of lesbian feminist thought. Lesbian feminism_sentence_13

Biology, choice and social constructionism Lesbian feminism_section_1

See also: Political lesbianism and Queer by choice Lesbian feminism_sentence_14

As outlined above, lesbian feminism typically situates lesbianism as a form of resistance to "man-made" institutions. Lesbian feminism_sentence_15

Cheryl Clarke writes in her essay New Notes on Lesbianism "I name myself "lesbian" because this culture oppresses, silences, and destroys lesbians, even lesbians who don't call themselves "lesbians." Lesbian feminism_sentence_16

I name myself "lesbian" because I want to be visible to other black lesbians. Lesbian feminism_sentence_17

I name myself "lesbian" because I do not subscribe to predatory/institutionalized heterosexuality". Lesbian feminism_sentence_18

However, according to A Dictionary of Gender Studies, some lesbians who believed themselves to be 'born that way' considered political lesbians or those who believe lesbianism is a choice based on the institutionalized heterosexuality were appropriating the term 'lesbian' and not experiencing or speaking out against the oppression that those women experience. Lesbian feminism_sentence_19

Indeed, it could be argued that lesbian feminism pre-empted if not laid the groundwork for queer theory to posit sexuality as culturally specific. Lesbian feminism_sentence_20

Separatism Lesbian feminism_section_2

Main article: Separatist feminism Lesbian feminism_sentence_21

See also: Queer nationalism Lesbian feminism_sentence_22

Lesbian separatism is a form of separatist feminism specific to lesbians. Lesbian feminism_sentence_23

Separatism has been considered by lesbians as both a temporary strategy and as a lifelong practice, but mostly the latter. Lesbian feminism_sentence_24

In separatist feminism, lesbianism is posited as a key feminist strategy that enables women to invest their energies in other women, creating new space and dialogue about women's relationships, and typically, limits their dealings with men. Lesbian feminism_sentence_25

Lesbian separatism became popular in the 1970s, as some lesbians doubted whether mainstream society or even the Gay rights movement had anything to offer them. Lesbian feminism_sentence_26

In 1970, seven women, including Del Martin, confronted the North Conference of Homophile [meaning homosexual] Organizations about the relevance of the gay rights movement to the women within it. Lesbian feminism_sentence_27

The delegates passed a resolution in favor of women's liberation, but Del Martin felt they had not done enough and wrote "If That's All There Is", an influential 1970 essay in which she decried gay rights organizations as sexist. Lesbian feminism_sentence_28

In the summer of 1971, a lesbian group calling themselves "The Furies" formed a commune open to lesbians only, where they put out a monthly newspaper. Lesbian feminism_sentence_29

"The Furies" consisted of twelve women, aged eighteen to twenty-eight, all feminists, all lesbians, all white, with three children among them. Lesbian feminism_sentence_30

They shared chores and clothes, lived together, held some of their money in common, and slept on mattresses on a common floor. Lesbian feminism_sentence_31

They also started a school to teach women auto and home repair so they would not be dependent on men. Lesbian feminism_sentence_32

The newspaper lasted from January 1972 to June 1973; the commune itself ended in 1972. Lesbian feminism_sentence_33

Charlotte Bunch, an early member of "The Furies", viewed separatist feminism as a strategy, a "first step" period, or temporary withdrawal from mainstream activism to accomplish specific goals or enhance personal growth. Lesbian feminism_sentence_34

Other lesbians, such as Lambda Award winning author Elana Dykewomon, have chosen separatism as a lifelong practice. Lesbian feminism_sentence_35

In addition to advocating withdrawal from working, personal or casual relationships with men, "The Furies" recommended that Lesbian Separatists relate "only (with) women who cut their ties to male privilege" and suggested that "as long as women still benefit from heterosexuality, receive its privileges and security, they will at some point have to betray their sisters, especially Lesbian sisters who do not receive those benefits". Lesbian feminism_sentence_36

This was part of a larger idea that Bunch articulated in Learning from Lesbian Separatism, that "in a male-supremacist society, heterosexuality is a political institution" and the practice of separatism is a way to escape its domination. Lesbian feminism_sentence_37

In her 1988 book, Lesbian Ethics: Towards a New Value, lesbian philosopher Sarah Lucia Hoagland alludes to lesbian separatism's potential to encourage lesbians to develop healthy community ethics based on shared values. Lesbian feminism_sentence_38

Hoagland articulates a distinction (originally noted by Lesbian Separatist author and anthologist, Julia Penelope) between a lesbian subculture and a lesbian community; membership in the subculture being "defined in negative terms by an external, hostile culture", and membership in the community being based on "the values we believe we can enact here". Lesbian feminism_sentence_39

Bette Tallen believes that lesbian separatism, unlike some other separatist movements, is "not about the establishment of an independent state, it is about the development of an autonomous self-identity and the creation of a strong solid lesbian community". Lesbian feminism_sentence_40

Lesbian historian Lillian Faderman describes the separatist impulses of lesbian feminism which created culture and cultural artifacts as "giving love between women greater visibility" in broader culture. Lesbian feminism_sentence_41

Faderman also believes that lesbian feminists who acted to create separatist institutions did so to "bring their ideals about integrity, nurturing the needy, self-determination and equality of labor and rewards into all aspects of institution-building and economics". Lesbian feminism_sentence_42

The practice of Lesbian separatism sometimes incorporates concepts related to queer nationalism and political lesbianism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_43

Some individuals who identify as Lesbian separatists are also associated with the practice of Dianic paganism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_44

A womyn's land is a women-only intentional community predominantly created, populated, and maintained by lesbian separatists. Lesbian feminism_sentence_45

Elsewhere, lesbian feminists have situated female separatism as quite a mainstream thing and have explored the mythology surrounding it. Lesbian feminism_sentence_46

Marilyn Frye's (1978) essay Notes on Separatism and Power is one such example. Lesbian feminism_sentence_47

She posits female separatism as a strategy practiced by all women, at some point, and present in many feminist projects (one might cite women's refuges, electoral quotas or women's studies programmes). Lesbian feminism_sentence_48

She argues that it is only when women practice it, self-consciously as separation from men, that it is treated with controversy (or as she suggests hysteria). Lesbian feminism_sentence_49

On the other hand, male separatism (one might cite gentleman's clubs, labour unions, sports teams, the military and, more arguably, decision-making positions in general) is seen as quite a normal, even expedient phenomenon. Lesbian feminism_sentence_50

Still, other lesbian feminists put forward a notion of "tactical separatism" from men, arguing for and investing in things like women's sanctuaries and consciousness-raising groups, but also exploring everyday practices to which women may temporarily retreat or practice solitude from men and masculinity. Lesbian feminism_sentence_51

Margaret Sloan-Hunter compared lesbian separatism to black separatism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_52

In her work Making Separatist Connections: The Issue is Woman Identification she stated "If Lesbian separatism fails it will be because women are so together that we will just exude woman identification wherever we go. Lesbian feminism_sentence_53

But since sexism is much older than racism, it seems that we must for now embrace separatism, at least psychically, for health and consciousness sake. Lesbian feminism_sentence_54

This is a revolution, not a public relations campaign, we must keep reminding ourselves". Lesbian feminism_sentence_55

Some of the lesbian feminist groups, however, were skeptical of separatism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_56

As such, a prominent black lesbian feminist group, the Combahee River Collective, stated that separatism is not a viable political strategy for them. Lesbian feminism_sentence_57

The woman-identified woman Lesbian feminism_section_3

If the founding of the lesbian feminist movement could be pinpointed at a specific moment, it would probably be May 1970, when Radicalesbians, an activist group of 20 lesbians led by lesbian novelist Rita Mae Brown, took over the Congress to Unite Women, a women's conference in New York City. Lesbian feminism_sentence_58

Uninvited, they lined up on stage wearing matching T-shirts inscribed with the words "Lavender Menace", and demanded the microphone to read aloud to an audience of 400 their essay "The Woman-Identified Woman", which laid out the main precepts of their movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_59

Later on, Adrienne Rich incorporated this concept in her essay "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence", in which she unpacks the idea that patriarchy dictates women to be focused on men or to be "men-identified women. Lesbian feminism_sentence_60

Becoming women-identified women, i.e. changing the focus of attention and energy from men to women, is a way to resist the patriarchal oppression". Lesbian feminism_sentence_61

Contrary to some popular beliefs about "man-hating butch dykes", lesbian feminist theory does not support the concept of female masculinity. Lesbian feminism_sentence_62

Proponents like Sheila Jeffreys (2003:13) have argued that "all forms of masculinity are problematic". Lesbian feminism_sentence_63

This is one of the principal areas in which lesbian feminism differs from queer theory, perhaps best summarized by Judith Halberstam's quip that "If Sheila Jeffreys didn't exist, Camille Paglia would have had to invent her." Lesbian feminism_sentence_64

The overwhelming majority of the activists and scholars associated with lesbian feminist theory have been women; however, there are a few exceptions. Lesbian feminism_sentence_65

For instance, political theorist Eugene Lewis, whose critique of patriarchal society explores the parallels between the theatrical mockery of women in the works of C.S. Lesbian feminism_sentence_66 Lewis (no relation) and underground male prostitution rings, describes himself as "a lesbian feminist in the ideological sense". Lesbian feminism_sentence_67

Womyn's culture Lesbian feminism_section_4

"Womyn" along with "wimmin" and "womin" were terms created by alliances within the lesbian feminist movement to distinguish them from men and masculine (or "phallogocentric") language. Lesbian feminism_sentence_68

The term "women" was seen as derivative of men and ultimately symbolized the prescriptive nature of women's oppression. Lesbian feminism_sentence_69

A new vocabulary emerged more generally, sometimes referencing lost or unspoken matriarchal civilizations, Amazonian warriors, ancient – especially Greek – goddesses, sometimes parts of the female anatomy and often references to the natural world. Lesbian feminism_sentence_70

It was frequently remarked that the movement had nothing to go on, no knowledge of its roots, nor histories of lesbianism to draw on. Lesbian feminism_sentence_71

Hence the emphasis on consciousness-raising and carving out new (arguably) "gynocentric" cultures. Lesbian feminism_sentence_72

Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc organization united lesbian feminists and womanists of color. Lesbian feminism_sentence_73

Lesbians and mainstream feminism Lesbian feminism_section_5

As a critical perspective, lesbian feminism is perhaps best defined in opposition to mainstream feminism and queer theory. Lesbian feminism_sentence_74

It has certainly been argued that mainstream feminism has been guilty of homophobia in its failure to integrate sexuality as a fundamental category of gendered inquiry and its treatment of lesbianism as a separate issue. Lesbian feminism_sentence_75

In this respect, Adrienne Rich's 1980 classic text "" is instructive and one of the landmarks in lesbian feminism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_76

Influence within feminist organizations Lesbian feminism_section_6

National Organization for Women (USA) Lesbian feminism_section_7

Lesbians have been active in the mainstream American feminist movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_77

The first time lesbian concerns were introduced into the National Organization for Women (NOW) was in 1969, when Ivy Bottini, an open lesbian who was then president of the New York chapter of NOW, held a public forum titled "Is Lesbianism a Feminist Issue?". Lesbian feminism_sentence_78

However, NOW president Betty Friedan was against lesbian participation in the movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_79

In 1969, she referred to growing lesbian visibility as a "lavender menace" and fired openly-lesbian newsletter editor Rita Mae Brown, and in 1970, she engineered the expulsion of lesbians, including Ivy Bottini, from NOW's New York chapter. Lesbian feminism_sentence_80

In response, on the first evening, when four hundred feminists were assembled in the auditorium at the 1970 Congress to Unite Women, a group of twenty women wearing T-shirts that read "Lavender Menace" came to the front of the room and faced the audience. Lesbian feminism_sentence_81

One of the women then read the group's declaration, The Woman-Identified Woman, the first major lesbian feminist statement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_82

The group, who later named themselves "Radicalesbians", were among the first to challenge the heterosexism of heterosexual feminists and to describe lesbian experience in positive terms. Lesbian feminism_sentence_83

In 1971, NOW passed a resolution that proclaimed “a woman's right to her own person includes the right to define and express her own sexuality and to choose her own lifestyle", as well as a conference resolution stating that forcing lesbian mothers to stay in marriages or to live a secret existence in an effort to keep their children was unjust. Lesbian feminism_sentence_84

That year, NOW also committed to offering legal and moral support in a test case involving child custody rights of lesbian mothers. Lesbian feminism_sentence_85

In 1973, the NOW Task Force on Sexuality and Lesbianism was established. Lesbian feminism_sentence_86

Del Martin was the first open lesbian elected to NOW, and Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first lesbian couple to join the organization. Lesbian feminism_sentence_87

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change Lesbian feminism_section_8

In 2014, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC) issued an "Anti-Sexism Statement" which states, "Men run the world and women are supposed to serve according to the belief that men are superior to women, which is patriarchy. Lesbian feminism_sentence_88

Patriarchy is the system by which men's universal power is maintained and enforced. Lesbian feminism_sentence_89

OLOC works toward the end of patriarchy and the liberation of all women." Lesbian feminism_sentence_90

Influence within governmental institutions Lesbian feminism_section_9

National Plan of Action of the 1977 National Women's Conference (USA) Lesbian feminism_section_10

In November 1977 the National Women's Conference issued a , which stated in part, "Congress, State, and local legislatures should enact legislation to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual and affectional preference in areas including, but not limited to, employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, public facilities, government funding, and the military. Lesbian feminism_sentence_91

State legislatures should reform their penal codes or repeal State laws that restrict private sexual behavior between consenting adults. Lesbian feminism_sentence_92

State legislatures should enact legislation that would prohibit consideration of sexual or affectional orientation as a factor in any judicial determination of child custody or visitation rights. Lesbian feminism_sentence_93

Rather, child custody cases should be evaluated solely on the merits of which party is the better parent, without regard to that person's sexual and affectional orientation." Lesbian feminism_sentence_94

Feminist culture Lesbian feminism_section_11

American photographer Deborah Bright created a series called Dream Girls which challenged mainstream gender-sex identities that the Hollywood industry in the 1980s chose to propagate. Lesbian feminism_sentence_95

Tensions with queer theory and trans feminism Lesbian feminism_section_12

The emergence of queer theory in the 1990s built upon certain principles of lesbian feminism, including the critique of compulsory heterosexuality, the understanding of gender as defined in part by heterosexuality, and the understanding of sexuality as institutional instead of personal. Lesbian feminism_sentence_96

Despite this, queer theory is largely set in opposition to traditional lesbian feminism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_97

Whereas lesbian feminism is traditionally critical of BDSM, butch/femme identities and relationships, transgender and transsexual people, pornography, and prostitution, queer theory tends to embrace them. Lesbian feminism_sentence_98

Queer theorists embrace gender fluidity and subsequently have critiqued lesbian feminism as having an essentialist understanding of gender that runs counter to their stated aims. Lesbian feminism_sentence_99

Lesbian feminists have critiqued queer theory as implicitly male-oriented and a recreation of the male-oriented Gay Liberation Front that lesbian feminists initially sought refuge from. Lesbian feminism_sentence_100

Queer theorists have countered by pointing out that the majority of the most prominent queer theorists are feminists and many (including Judith Butler, Judith Halberstam, and Gayle Rubin) are lesbians. Lesbian feminism_sentence_101

Barry (2002) suggests that in choosing between these possible alignments (lesbian feminism and/or queer theory) one must answer whether it is gender or sexuality that is the more "fundamental in personal identity." Lesbian feminism_sentence_102

Views on BDSM Lesbian feminism_section_13

Because of its focus on equality in sexual relationships, lesbian feminism has traditionally been opposed to any form of BDSM that involve perpetuation of gender stereotypes. Lesbian feminism_sentence_103

This view was challenged in the late 1970s, most notably by the Samois group. Lesbian feminism_sentence_104

Samois was a San Francisco-based feminist organization focused on BDSM. Lesbian feminism_sentence_105

Samois members felt strongly that their way of practicing BDSM was entirely compatible with feminism, and held that the kind of feminist sexuality advocated by Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media was conservative and puritanical. Lesbian feminism_sentence_106

In contrast, many black lesbian feminists have spoken out against the practice of BDSM as racist. Lesbian feminism_sentence_107

According to scholars Darlene Pagano, Karen Sims, and Rose Mason, sadomasochism, in particular, is a practice that often lacks sensitivity to the black female experience as it can be historically linked to similar forms of sexual violence and dominance enacted against black female slaves. Lesbian feminism_sentence_108

Views on bisexuality Lesbian feminism_section_14

Further information: Bisexual politics Lesbian feminism_sentence_109

Bisexuality is rejected by some lesbian feminists as being a reactionary and anti-feminist backlash to lesbian feminism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_110

A bisexual woman filed a lawsuit against the lesbian feminist magazine Common Lives/Lesbian Lives, alleging discrimination against bisexuals when her submission was not published. Lesbian feminism_sentence_111

A number of women who were at one time involved in lesbian feminist activism came out as bisexual after realizing their attractions to men. Lesbian feminism_sentence_112

A widely studied example of lesbian-bisexual conflict within feminism was the Northampton Pride March during the years between 1989 and 1993, where many feminists involved debated over whether bisexuals should be included and whether or not bisexuality was compatible with feminism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_113

Common lesbian feminist critiques leveled at bisexuality were that bisexuality was anti-feminist, that bisexuality was a form of false consciousness, and that bisexual women who pursue relationships with men were "deluded and desperate." Lesbian feminism_sentence_114

However, tensions between bisexual feminists and lesbian feminists have eased since the 1990s, as bisexual women have become more accepted within the feminist community. Lesbian feminism_sentence_115

Nevertheless, some lesbian feminists such as Julie Bindel are still critical of bisexuality. Lesbian feminism_sentence_116

Bindel has described female bisexuality as a "fashionable trend" being promoted due to "sexual hedonism" and questioned whether bisexuality even exists. Lesbian feminism_sentence_117

She has also made tongue-in-cheek comparisons of bisexuals to cat fanciers and devil worshippers. Lesbian feminism_sentence_118

Lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys writes in The Lesbian Heresy (1993) that while many feminists are comfortable working alongside gay men, they are uncomfortable interacting with bisexual men. Lesbian feminism_sentence_119

Jeffreys states that while gay men are unlikely to sexually harass women, bisexual men are just as likely to be troublesome to women as heterosexual men. Lesbian feminism_sentence_120

In contrast, Bi Any Other Name (1991), an anthology edited by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Ka'ahumanu considered one of the seminal books in the history of the modern bisexual rights movement, contains (among other things) the piece, "Bisexuality: The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Lesbian Feminism? Lesbian feminism_sentence_121

", by Beth Elliot. Lesbian feminism_sentence_122

Views on transgender people Lesbian feminism_section_15

Though lesbian feminists' views vary, there is a specific lesbian feminist canon which rejects transgenderism, transsexuals and transvestites, positing trans people as, at best, gender dupes or functions of a discourse on mutilation; or at worst, shoring up support for traditional and violent gender norms. Lesbian feminism_sentence_123

This is a position marked by intense controversy. Lesbian feminism_sentence_124

Sheila Jeffreys summarized the arguments on this topic in Unpacking Queer Politics (2003) and Gender Hurts (2014). Lesbian feminism_sentence_125

Lesbian feminism is sometimes associated with opposition to sex reassignment surgery; as some lesbian feminist analyses see sex reassignment surgery as a form of violence akin to BDSM. Lesbian feminism_sentence_126

In 1979, lesbian feminist Janice Raymond published The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Lesbian feminism_sentence_127

Controversial even today, it looked at the role of transsexualism – particularly psychological and surgical approaches to it – in reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes, the ways in which the medical-psychiatric complex is medicalizing “gender identity”, and the social and political context that has been instrumental in making transsexual treatment and surgery a normal and therapeutic medicine. Lesbian feminism_sentence_128

Raymond maintains that transsexualism is based on the "patriarchal myths" of "male mothering," and "making of woman according to man's image." Lesbian feminism_sentence_129

She claims this is done in order "to colonize feminist identification, culture, politics and sexuality," adding: "All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves .... Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive." Lesbian feminism_sentence_130

In her book, Raymond includes sections on Sandy Stone, a trans woman who had worked as a sound engineer for Olivia Records, and Christy Barsky, accusing both of creating divisiveness in women's spaces. Lesbian feminism_sentence_131

These writings have been heavily criticized as personal attacks on these individuals. Lesbian feminism_sentence_132

These views on transsexuality have been criticized by many in the LGBT and feminist communities as transphobic and constituting hate speech against transsexual men and women. Lesbian feminism_sentence_133

In Living a Feminist Life (2017), Sara Ahmed imagines lesbian feminism as a fundamental and necessary alliance with trans feminism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_134

Ahmed considered that an anti-trans stance is an anti-feminist stance, and against the feminist project of creating worlds to support those for whom gender fatalism (i.e. boys will be boys, girls will be girls) is deleterious. Lesbian feminism_sentence_135

Lesbian of color feminism Lesbian feminism_section_16

Feminism among lesbians of color emerged as a response to the texts produced by white lesbian feminist authors in the late 1970s. Lesbian feminism_sentence_136

Typically, lesbian feminism at the time failed to recognize issues related to intersectionality between race, gender, and class. Lesbian feminism_sentence_137

Apart from this, lesbian feminists of color addressed the relationship between feminism as a movement and "ideology of cultural nationalism or racial pride", as well as the differences found in the prevalent texts. Lesbian feminism_sentence_138

Among the most influential lesbian feminists of color are Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Barbara Smith, Pat Parker, Kate Rushin, Margaret Sloan-Hunter, Cheryl Clarke, and Ochy Curiel. Lesbian feminism_sentence_139

Audre Lorde addressed how these movements should intersect in her 1979 speech “The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House”. Lesbian feminism_sentence_140

In particular, she stated “As women, we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. Lesbian feminism_sentence_141

Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression. Lesbian feminism_sentence_142

But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.” Lesbian feminism_sentence_143

Black lesbian feminism Lesbian feminism_section_17

Black lesbian feminism originates from black feminism and the Civil Rights Movement in the beginning of the 1970s. Lesbian feminism_sentence_144

Kaila Adia Story, a contemporary black lesbian feminist scholar, defines black lesbian feminism "as the thought and praxis of an intersectional gendered and sexual analysis of the world's relationship to queer women of color specifically, both cis and trans". Lesbian feminism_sentence_145

The prominent authors who were at the roots of black lesbian feminism include Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith, Pat Parker, Kate Rushin, doris davenport, Cheryl Clarke, and Margaret Sloan-Hunter. Lesbian feminism_sentence_146

Black lesbian feminism emerged as a venue to address the issue of racism in the mainstream feminist movement, which was described as white, middle-class, and predominantly heterosexual. Lesbian feminism_sentence_147

According to a 1979 statement by Barbara Smith, "the reason racism is a feminist issue is easily explained by the inherent definition of feminism", which is "the political theory and practice to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, physically challenged women, lesbians, old women, as well as white economically privileged heterosexual women." Lesbian feminism_sentence_148

Later, in 1984, she extended her views on black lesbian feminism mission to "a movement committed to fighting sexual, racial, economic and heterosexist oppression, not to mention one which opposes imperialism, anti-Semitism, the oppressions visited upon the physically disabled, the old and the young, at the same time that it challenges militarism and imminent nuclear destruction is the very opposite of narrow.” Lesbian feminism_sentence_149

Most prominent black lesbian feminists were writers rather than scholars and expressed their position in literary ways. Lesbian feminism_sentence_150

Allida Mae Black states that unlike black feminism, in 1977 the position of black lesbian feminism was not as clear as the position of black feminism and was "an allusion in the text." Lesbian feminism_sentence_151

Apart from this, the position of black lesbian feminists was expressed in their interviews and public speeches. Lesbian feminism_sentence_152

As such, in a 1980 interview published in American Poetry Review, Audre Lorde stated that a "true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women", as well as that all black women, whether they admit it or not, are lesbians because they are "raised in the remnants of a basically matriarchal society" and are still oppressed by patriarchy. Lesbian feminism_sentence_153

Pat Parker's work reflected the oppression she suffered and observed in lives of other women. Lesbian feminism_sentence_154

In her poem Have you Ever Tried to Hide, Parker calls out racism in the white feminist movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_155

In her multiple works, including the poem "Womanslaughter", she drew attention to the violence Black women experience in their lives. Lesbian feminism_sentence_156

Among others, Parker defended the idea of complex identities and stated that, for her, revolution will happen when all elements of her identity "can come along." Lesbian feminism_sentence_157

Combahee River Collective Lesbian feminism_section_18

The Combahee River Collective is a Boston-based black feminist group that was formed as a radical alternative to the National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO) founded by Margaret Sloan-Hunter in 1973. Lesbian feminism_sentence_158

For the organization's members, NBFO lacked attention to the issues of sexuality and economic oppression. Lesbian feminism_sentence_159

The Collective united the women that were dissatisfied with racism in white feminist movement and sexism in civil rights movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_160

The name of the organization alludes to the Underground Railroad Combahee River Raid that happened in 1863 under Harriet Tubman's leadership and freed 750 slaves. Lesbian feminism_sentence_161

The Combahee River Collective issued a statement in 1977 that described the organization's vision as being opposed to all forms of oppression — including sexuality, gender identity, class, disability, and age oppression (later incorporated in the concept of intersectionality) that shaped the conditions on black women's lives. Lesbian feminism_sentence_162

In its "Statement", the Combahee River Collective defined itself as a left-wing organization leaning towards socialism and anti-imperialism. Lesbian feminism_sentence_163

The organization also claimed that unlike some white feminist groups or NBFO, the Collective members are in "solidarity with progressive Black men and do not advocate the fractionalization" and emphasizing that "the stance of Lesbian separatism ... is not a viable political analysis or strategy." Lesbian feminism_sentence_164

Other organizations under the stance of black lesbian feminism include Salsa Souls Sisters, formed in 1974 in New York City and considered to be the oldest black besbian feminist organization; and Sapphire Sapphos, formed in 1979 in Washington, DC. Lesbian feminism_sentence_165

Visual art works Lesbian feminism_section_19

The more recent art form used to express black lesbian feminist ideas is film. Lesbian feminism_sentence_166

In particular, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, an award-winning black lesbian feminist, made NO! Lesbian feminism_sentence_167

The Rape Documentary (2006), a documentary that explores how rape is used as a weapon of homophobia. Lesbian feminism_sentence_168

For Simmons, a sexual assault survivor herself, the film was also an exploration of how rape impacted her Black feminist lesbian journey. Lesbian feminism_sentence_169

Chicana lesbian feminism Lesbian feminism_section_20

Chicana lesbian feminism emerged from the Chicana feminism movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lesbian feminism_sentence_170

During this time, Chicana feminism began to form as a “social movement aimed to improve the position of Chicanas in American society.” Chicanas separated from the Chicano movement began drawing their own political agendas, and started to question their traditional female roles. Lesbian feminism_sentence_171

Specifically, Chicana feminists (see also Chicana literature) started addressing the forces that affected them as women of color and fighting for social equality. Lesbian feminism_sentence_172

In With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians (2009), the first monograph dedicated to the work of Chicana lesbians, Catriona Rueda Esquibel stated "Chicana lesbians are central to understanding Chicana/o communities, theories, and feminisms." Lesbian feminism_sentence_173

Similarly to black lesbian feminists, Chicana lesbian feminists use literature as a way of naming themselves, expressing their ideas, and reclaiming their experiences flagged with a number of accusations. Lesbian feminism_sentence_174

They are accused of being lesbians, of betraying society by denying men of their reproductive role, and of betraying their Chicana identity by adhering to feminist and lesbian ideologies, both things considered by Chicano culture as "white" notions. Lesbian feminism_sentence_175

The key Chicana lesbian feminist thinkers include Cherrie Moraga, Gloria Anzaldúa, Lidia Tirado White, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Emma Pérez, Carla Trujillo, Monica Palacios, Ana Castillo, Natashia López, and Norma Alarcón. Lesbian feminism_sentence_176

In the feminist anthology, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, Moraga and Anzaldúa describe the Chicana lesbian feminist mission as follows: "we attempt to bridge the contradictions in our experience. Lesbian feminism_sentence_177

We are the colored in a white feminist movement. Lesbian feminism_sentence_178

We are the feminists among the people of our culture. Lesbian feminism_sentence_179

We are often the lesbians among the straight. Lesbian feminism_sentence_180

We do this bridging by naming ourselves and by telling our stories in our own words." Lesbian feminism_sentence_181

One of the foundational concepts of Chicana lesbian feminist movement is “theory in the flesh”, which is "flesh and blood experiences of the woman of color." Lesbian feminism_sentence_182

Specifically, as described by Moraga and Anzaldúa, "a theory in flesh means one where the typical realities of our lives —our skin color, the land or concrete we grew up on, our sexual belongings—all fuse to create a political born out of necessity." Lesbian feminism_sentence_183

In Moraga's article La Güera, she continues making reference to the theory in the flesh: "it wasn't until I acknowledged and confronted my own lesbianism in the flesh, that my heartfelt identification with and empathy for my mother's oppression —due to being poor, uneducated, Chicana— was realized." Lesbian feminism_sentence_184

Furthermore, this theory incorporates the ideas of finding strength in and celebrating each other's difference as well as reinterpreting the history by “shaping new myths”, and lays in a process of naming themselves but also naming the enemies within oneself to break down paradigms. Lesbian feminism_sentence_185

As Moraga explains in her prose Loving in the War Years: Lo que nunca paso por sus labios: "in this country, lesbianism is a poverty — as is being brown, as is being a woman, as is being just plain poor. Lesbian feminism_sentence_186

The danger lies in ranking the oppressions. Lesbian feminism_sentence_187

The danger lies in failing to acknowledge the specificity of the oppression. Lesbian feminism_sentence_188

The danger lies in attempting to deal with oppression purely from a theoretical base. Lesbian feminism_sentence_189

Without an emotional, heartfelt grappling with the source of our own oppression, without naming the enemy within ourselves and outside of us, no authentic, non-hierarchical connection among oppressed groups can take place." Lesbian feminism_sentence_190

Genres and main themes Lesbian feminism_section_21

Chicana lesbian feminists challenge traditional forms of knowledge production, and introduce new ways of knowledge creation through new forms of writing. Lesbian feminism_sentence_191

Many Chicana lesbian feminists use what Teresa de Lauretis named “fiction/theory”, “a formally experimental, critical and lyrical, autobiographical and theoretically conscious, practice of writing-in-the-feminine that crosses genre boundaries (poetry and prose, verbal and visual modes, narrative and cultural criticism), and instates new correlations between signs and meanings.” They combine genres such as autobiography, poetry, theory, personal diaries or imaginary interviews. Lesbian feminism_sentence_192

At the same time, Chicana lesbian feminists today navigate and struggle across a variety of discursive contexts (as activist, academics, feminists, and artists). Lesbian feminism_sentence_193

Through their literature and art, Chicana lesbian feminists explore their body lived experiences, a fundamental aspect in the construction of lesbian identity. Lesbian feminism_sentence_194

They reclaim the idea of the real body and the physical aspect of it. Lesbian feminism_sentence_195

Chicana lesbian feminists bring into the discussion the conflicts with the concept of la familia, the new familias they create, and their right to choose their own sexuality. Lesbian feminism_sentence_196

Martha Barrera writes “we are just as valid a familia as we would be if she were a brown man who I married in the Catholic Church.” At the same time they try to find reconciliation with their familia. Lesbian feminism_sentence_197

Juanita M. Sánchez writes “my father wanted me to go to work my grandmother wanted me to speak more Spanish she couldn't speak English i wanted to make a living selling popsicles on my 1948 cushman scooter nothing turned out like they wanted but my mother did say, “if you want to be with a woman, que le hace, as long as you're happy”. Lesbian feminism_sentence_198

Chicana lesbian feminists confront their lesbian identity with their Chicano identity. Lesbian feminism_sentence_199

This constitutes a central aspect of Chicana lesbian literature. Lesbian feminism_sentence_200

Renée M. Martinez expresses her impossibility to reconcile the two identities: "being a Chicana and a lesbian, my parents' daughter and a lesbian, alive and a lesbian", lesbianism “would sever me from everything that counted in my life: homosexuality, the ultimate betrayal of my Mexican heritage, was only for white people.” Moraga writes how “the woman who defies her role ... is purported to be a “traitor to her race” by contributing to the “genocide” of her people ... Lesbian feminism_sentence_201

In short, even if the defiant woman is not a lesbian, she is purported to be one; for, like the lesbian in the Chicano imagination, she is una Malinchista. Lesbian feminism_sentence_202

Like the Malinche of Mexican history, she is corrupted by foreign influences which threaten to destroy her people. Lesbian feminism_sentence_203

[…] Lesbianism can be construed by the race then as the Chicana being used by the white man, even if the man never lays a hand on her. Lesbian feminism_sentence_204

The choice is never seen as her own. Lesbian feminism_sentence_205

Homosexuality is his disease with which he sinisterly infects Third World people, men and women alike.” Lesbian feminism_sentence_206

See also Lesbian feminism_section_22

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian feminism.